I am not one to ‘accessorize’ a bike, let alone equip one to generally accepted standards of what even constitutes a complete bicycle. My primary ride has one brake and one gear, and I am still a little suspicious of all the features of my new mountain bike.
A crowded cockpit looks bad and is difficult to navigate. A recent look at some dad bikes in the area have shown all kinds of things cropping up: phone mounts, computers, bells, shark horns, bar ends, speakers, Rubik’s cubes, snack pouches, what-have-you. Don’t even get me started on fashion baskets. There is nothing at all wrong with a single light and is a feature legally required in many municipalities; I’m talking about excess here.
Moving to the frame itself, one often sees no less than two or three lock mounts at various points on the top and seat tubes that, judging by the rust and state of disrepair, were clearly never used more than a couple times and are definitely not compatible with whatever lock the rider uses now.
Racks and fenders are another point of bicycle abuse. Maybe one in four racks ever gets used as anything more than a very heavy fender. Historically I have especially disliked fenders. They are often ugly, time-consuming to put on, and incompatible with some bikes (but you never learn that until after they are bought, paid for, and in the middle of being put on). All that to have them come loose, rattle, and rub. For years, I have chosen to brave the wet or walk rather than use one.
I find myself in an awkward situation then. Recently, we became Charlottesville’s primary distributor of Ass Savers*. These funny-shaped cutting board scraps have comprised the bulk of my bicycle-related purchases lately. All it took was one ride. One wintry afternoon, after watching a re-run of last year’s CX nationals, I left the shop to take my daily lunchtime ride at Ohill. It started raining as I set out, and word was it was already muddy. I had no idea what I was getting into. I returned a few pounds heavier from all the mud and with a new appreciation for the hell that is cyclocross. I thought to myself: Never again.
I have accepted the inevitable. Both my daily ride and mountain bike have fenders on them now, a combination of Ass Savers and Mucky Nutz. And honestly, I think they are frickin’ way cool. The suspension fork guard perfectly matches the mint decals, the seat tube fender is reflective, and my ass is dry. When my gravel bike gets built up again, it will be getting the same treatment.
*Disclaimer: This blog post is completely unsolicited and is in no way sponsored by Ass Savers.